After 52 passengers were rescued from a research ship trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve, right-wing fixtures of radio and TV unctuously mocked and ridiculed not only global warming claims but also the climate change scientists who tried to record its signs. Such ridicule is akin to going to a Green Bay Packer game in January and saying a game time temperature of -2F proves global warming a hoax[i].
Breitbart.com, spurious about the ironic event, bellowed stereotypical claims in dark, huge letters: “…media ..more interested in protecting left-wing narratives than reporting facts….Global Warming believers found a lot more ice … than ..research told them would be there. All Foxers joined in the fun. For example, there was Brian Kilmeade’s enunciated “Global Warming Scam,” Stuart Varney declaring “Looking at Global Cooling, not Global Warming[ii],” and Hannity’s oft-recited cliché of “global warming is a hoax” always on his pouted lips.
Overall, it is sad that we have irresponsible pimping for the benefit of a small exploitive segment of our society like the Koch brothers and big oil, at the same time always demagoging for the GOP, a position totally against the interests of billions worldwide, most especially those billion or so – within the next decade — who will suffer flooding, homelessness, and relocation – evidenced by Katrina and Sandy victims, for example.
Furthermore, at the hands of those selling this ridicule of climate change for gain, not only are hundreds of millions of people misinformed, it is also an insult to those conscientious scientists worldwide who commit their lives, even their safety, to discover the truths of climate change and how we can help ameliorate its affects.
One such scientist is James Balog who so aptly depicts the risks of rising sea levels, now and in the future. In his film, Chasing Ice[iii], he documents his efforts, along with the real alarm all global citizens must feel for our future and that of our descendents. Through strategically placed cameras in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana, Balog’s team, over five years, documents a remarkable rate of glacial ice loss. Watching the documentary even prompted a 60 year old grandmother to publically deny Bill O’Reilly’s oft-babble about a “global warming hoax.” She was formerly a fan of O’Reilly.
Calving glaciers, large segments falling into the sea, are documented, including the largest ever filmed at the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland. Near the end of the documentary, Dr. Balog tracks the erosion of the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound on the south coast of Alaska. It has lost a fourth of a mile of thickness and retreated over 10 miles in a few decades. Balog had to move his anchored camera 4 times to track part of the erosion. At the current rate of Greenland’s glacier loss of ice, we will see sea levels rise 1.5 to 3 feet within 50 years, Balog speculates, bad news for all coastal regions, especially NYC, Southern Florida, New Orleans and the Carolina coast.
What is certain is the sellout, big and small, some knowingly engineer, and some through self-deceit, wanting to believe the rot one sees on right-wing media. Commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, especially the former with his practiced savvy and education in history, must surely know deep down that climate change is real.
Those who denigrate the concept and its advocates, and do it for money and not principle, are the worst malefactors, being willing to sacrifice their planet, including their own offspring, for a very comfortable living.
How can you dispute that the level of carbon dioxide in the air is the highest since over a million years ago, a fact that ice core samples tell us. Measured at over 400 parts per million (ppm) just recently compared to 180 ppm just 150 years ago, the direct correlation — with some temperature amplifications — has been measured over the last 400,000 years[iv]. Yes, there are effects in an extremely complex planet that are not fully understood, but the extremes we have already recorded serve to support scientific models, like the highest recorded temperature averages have occurred over the last decade[v].
Unfortunately in our extremely polarized society, too many people on each side of the political spectrum do not want to be bothered with facts, though that tendency is much heavier on the conservative side, which seems to encourage such division.
Polarization is not a condition that justifies endangering our planet and our children’s future.
Follow more from this author: